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Old 10-15-2017, 10:58 PM   #1
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Solar Wiring Through Fridge Vent - Best Practice?

Currently installing solar on my 27FB. Now to run the wire from the panels down through the fridge vent.

What is the best practice here in running the wire? Simply drill through the chimney curb, add a grommet, and run the wire? Is there a better way while retaining good leak prevention?
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Old 10-16-2017, 11:16 AM   #2
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Found my answer. What I need is a "cable gland". Essentially a fancy grommet, with a compression nut/seal that makes things water tight.

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Old 10-16-2017, 11:28 AM   #3
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I routed mine up and over the "curb" and down the fridge vent. The PV conductors (each insulated of course) have a hard plastic outer sleeve over them and it has held up well. There's no added opportunity for leaking because I didn't penetrate that curb, and there was no space problem going over the curb. I notched the bird screen (1/4" wire mesh) for the cable to pass through, as I later also did for several coax and DC cables.
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:19 PM   #4
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I used the fridge vent as well. I have six panels routed to a collector box -- then one cable through the vent to the controller. Realize, though, that in order to run that wire through the fridge compartment I had to pull the fridge out. (The upper compartment is completely and totally sealed to keep CO out of the interior of the trailer.) In order to do this right and to make sure I didn’t compromise the seal, I elected to remove the fridge and make sure that my connection didn’t do something I didn’t want it to do.
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Old 10-16-2017, 10:53 PM   #5
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I've thought about just hanging it over the curb. Likely no problem, but was thinking to penetrate the curb and use a grommet, as it would positively locate the cable and avoid chaffing over time. Perhaps there's a good way to secure it with a stick on tie wrap anchor.

Tell me more about running the wire down the chimney. It's not a continuous flute down to the side compartment that I can use a wiring fish for?

I did some research and wasn't able to find too much discussion on this.
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Old 10-16-2017, 11:11 PM   #6
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I went through the fridge vent as well. I used Blue Seaís Cable Clams as pass-troughs for 4 AWG wire.

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Once installed I potted the wire and exposed screws inside the vent to prevent chaffing/shorts.

I had my interior skins out at the time, so I ran the cables through the walls. I also dded a flexible conduit while I was at it for future wires (cell or WiFi boosters, etc)
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Old 10-17-2017, 03:53 AM   #7
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If you run multiple wires through a single grommet, be sure to calk well between the wires, I found water likes to wick between them and get inside. Even a single wire that is not sealed in a grommet can bring water in.
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Old 10-17-2017, 01:52 PM   #8
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I notched the "bird screen" as well and ran plastic wire loom over the wire all the way down to where I exited the refrigerator compartment and entered the credenza. I have never had a problem with my 265 watt AM Solar Inc. system.
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Old 10-17-2017, 04:07 PM   #9
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What's the max temp in the refrigerator vent?

Also, our trailer was "prewired" for solar, with a #10 yellow and green wire, that comes 'down' into the exterior refrigerator compartment. How do you access these from the roof?

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Old 10-17-2017, 04:29 PM   #10
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In running wires up thru a roof vent, I always remove the entire vent and screening, as it also generally holds the wire for the cell antenna and any other roof-mounted items that the owner might want.

The combiner box (with an 8 panel capacity) is mounted next to the fridge vent, but not close enough to worry about wire capacity. The cables (from 6/2 down to 2/2) are run thru the fridge vent with a long fiberglass pole, thru a vent in the fridge floor and then into the cabin. Its forms a very solid connection point!

That's how I do it on just about every roof installation; especially on Airstreams.

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 10-17-2017, 04:41 PM   #11
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Thanks Lewster.

Specifically, do you drill any holes horizontally into the fridge vent column? Or do you just lay the wires over the top edge, and drop them down the screen, and down the vent?
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Old 10-17-2017, 04:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pteck View Post
Thanks Lewster.

Specifically, do you drill any holes horizontally into the fridge vent column? Or do you just lay the wires over the top edge, and drop them down the screen, and down the vent?
I remove the screen and cut it on replacement to fit the new wiring. Once the wiring is in place, I then add the cover over the vent and secure everything. This makes the tightest, best result when adding wiring to any Airstream, which will be totally waterproof as well.
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Old 10-17-2017, 04:59 PM   #13
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On the FB model, the fridge is on the oposise side to where all the electronics are mounted under the bed.
How do you go to the other side after running the wires down the fridge vent. Is there a chanel under the floor that is easy to access?
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Old 10-17-2017, 06:01 PM   #14
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I went through the fridge vent as well. I used Blue Seaís Cable Clams as pass-troughs for 4 AWG wire.
why such heavy wire? Is that typical?
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